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3cy smith candidate, NW-Spain

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:16 am
by Stefan
This gull was seen in Galicia, NW- Spain on the 15th of January by Daniel López Velasco. It has number of features that are supporting to be a genuine Smith. This includes the bill shape, dark hindneck and the barring of the under tail coverts. The colour texture and the degree of blotchiness are in many ways similar to the smith look-alikes seen in Iceland, that are herring gulls with glaucous gull influence. The barring of the upper tail coverts is not that dense and lot of the white basal tone is shining through. I have seen numerous Smith look-alikes with similar overall white basal tone in the upper tail coverts in Iceland. The question is also whether there needs to be more black in the outer tail feathers. The dull inner primary window and black in the distal secondaries, are features that can be unusual in the Icelandic Smith look-alikes (often with obvious inner primary window and the outer secondaries are being paler than the inner ones). The underwing is quite uniform, but this may also be the case among the smith look alikes. Finally, the chances of seeing this unusual herring gull in Galicia may be just similar as seeing a genuine american herring gull. The fact that the gull is second winter, which could be the age showing the most variable plumage of all ages, and the fact that many of the smith look-alikes, makes the identification harder. In my opinion, it will be hard to say with 100% certainty that this is a genuine american herring gull.